The ‘No Jewish State’ Solution
Pundits and policymakers act as though solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is like playing Risk. They manufacture formulas with the single-minded purpose of arriving at a predetermined outcome — a two-state solution — and ignore everything the Palestinians have said or done over the last century that is inconsistent with their desired result.
The Palestinians, however, have no interest in the Risk players’ conceptions of peace; they want a No Jewish State Solution.
Consider the history of negotiations. In 1937, British diplomats first arrived at the seemingly rational conclusion that the secret to resolving a conflict between two peoples over one land was to divide it into two states. Ignoring the messier reasons for the conflict, such as history, religion, politics, and psychology, the Peel Commission offered the Arabs a state in roughly 40% of Palestine and the Jews 17%. The Palestinians rejected the offer and objected “to the very idea of a Jewish state” according to historian Elie Podeh
In 1939, the British offered the Palestinians a state and no state for the Jews, reneging on their promise in the Balfour Declaration. This is the one state solution the Arabs said they wanted; however, it would have allowed continued Jewish immigration. The Palestinians’ representatives from the Arab Higher Committee objected to the idea that “Jews should have a fixed numerical proportion of one third or any other proportion, as such a position would be a real danger on Arab national existence.”
The Committee insisted on a “complete and final prohibition of any transfer of lands from Arabs to Jews.” Furthermore, the Arabs rejected the British requirement that they recognize a Jewish National Home, “No Arab in Palestine will ever be prepared to recognize … the existence of a Jewish Home as a national entity.”
Partition offered the Palestinians a worse deal (though better than Peel) — a state consisting of 45% of Mandatory Palestine next to a Jewish state. Before the UN vote on partition, the Arabs made their position clear and, in doing so, should have permanently shattered the illusions of two-state advocates. Arab League Secretary Azzam Pasha told Jewish Agency representative David Horowitz on September 16, 1947:
It’s likely, Mr. Horowitz, that your plan is rational and logical, but the fate of nations is not decided by rational logic. Nations never concede; they fight. You won’t get anything by peaceful means or compromise. You can, perhaps, get something, but only by the force of your arms. We shall try to defeat you. I am not sure we’ll succeed, but we’ll try. We were able to drive out the Crusaders, but on the other hand we lost Spain and Persia. It may be that we shall lose Palestine. But it’s too late to talk of peaceful solutions.
He was prescient about losing Palestine. Still, after the 1948 War of Independence, the Palestinians could have demanded a state from Jordan, which controlled the West Bank, and Egypt, which ruled Gaza. It would have met their goal of a Judenrein state. They had no interest in independence, however, and were content to live under occupation by their fellow Arabs.
Flash forward to 1993 and the Oslo agreements, which gave the Palestinians authority over 40% of the West Bank. Benjamin Netanyahu, yes Netanyahu, subsequently agreed to transfer another 15% to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and 12% to the PA’s civil control. Alas, the Palestinians literally blew up the peace process because they were no more willing to live with a Jewish state than they had been in 1937.
This became even more obvious when Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas rejected offers that would have created a Palestinian state in more than 90% of the West Bank and all of Gaza. It was then no surprise the Palestinians rejected Trump’s “deal of the century,” which offers them a state in only 70% of the West Bank. The Palestinians’ objective has not changed — a state in 100% of the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel.
Abbas has repeatedly said, “We will never recognize the Jewishness of the state of Israel.” He went further, however, and insisted, “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli — civilian or soldier — on our lands.” Since Abbas considers Israel part of “our lands” the implication is that he does not want a single Jew in all of “Palestine.”
Hamas is more explicit, stating bluntly in its charter that “it strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine,” which is an “Islamic land.” These views are considered irrelevant, while rockets, suicide bombers, and other acts of terror are mere annoyances to the peace processors.
The Risk players are willing to roll the dice on the belief that the Palestinians would be satisfied with a state in the West Bank, even though they have stated a different goal. For example, prior to Oslo, Abu Iyad, the number two man in the PLO, said, “At first a small state, and with the help of Allah, it will be made large, and expand to the east, west, north and south. I am interested in the liberation of Palestine, step by step.” And Arafat said, after recognizing Israel and signing the Oslo Accords, “The struggle will continue until all of Palestine is liberated.”
The two-staters are hypnotized by the seductive statements about peace that Palestinians express in English, but they should heed the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. The next time someone tries to deny the Palestinians’ commitment to the No Jewish State Solution, ask them where the Jewish state appears in the logos for Fatah, Hamas, PLO, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Show them one of the Palestinian Authority maps of the future Palestinian state. They are found in textbooks designed to teach Palestinian children that a Jewish state never existed in the past, does not exist now, and will not exist in the future.
Many of the Palestinians’ international supporters happily endorse the Palestinians’ objective as reflected by their chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and their posters and t-shirts, such as one worn by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), which also show “Palestine” encompassing all of Israel.
It is time the people playing Risk with Israeli lives recognize that the Palestinian objective is the No Jewish State Solution.